Friday, July 15, 2011

Plastic, Lucite, and Acrylic Jewelry... Cheap Looking or Versatile?

So I got to thinking about incorporating acrylic beads into my creations, but I'm having mixed feelings about it, as I think of cheap costume jewelry when I think of plastic or acrylic beads. But as I started looking through my current collection of jewelry that I've purchased over the years, I found that I actually own some pieces with acrylic beads. Well my only defense is they didn't look like cheap plastic, so maybe with high quality beads, I could make jewelry with larger beads without the extra weight.  

Found this listing from an artist in Philadelphia, and I couldn't figure out (without reading the description) which beads were glass and which were acrylic.
Did some research and found a few things about the differences in the type of beads you use...

Plastic beads are made from a mold with a product called styrene. While a more light-weight product, styrene can produce a lower quality, cloudier looking plastic bead. Often times plastic beads will have pieces of the mold still attached to create sharp edges and the seam is highly visible.  
Acrylic beads are usually injected into a mold so they are almost virtually seamless and are cut similar to glass crystal beads so they look like glass but without the weight or cost. 

Found an Etsy seller from Australia that uses a lot of acrylic beads in her creations and they look beautiful. And they seem so much more versatile than glass beads. May have to rethink my initials feelings towards these beads.

What do you think?? Do you wear or buy, or would you wear or buy acrylic jewelry?


  1. First off, not a big jewelry wearer - if I remember my wedding ring it's a good day. But when I do wear it - dress up occasions only - I don't want plastic or acrylic. I guess maybe if I was more of a day-to-day jewelry wearer...but I still think I'd prefer glass, stone and metal.

  2. Thanks for your comment Melissa, I understand about dressing up, I don't think I would want plastic jewelry for a special occasion either. But like you said maybe daily jewelry like bracelets would be more durable with lucite or acrylic beads. But am still amazed with how inexpensive the beads are, people are charging a lot for their pieces. I guess because it's handmade. Thanks again for commenting. Always love to hear how people feel about stuff like this. =)

  3. I've struggled with that decision too! I think some acrylic would really surprise people. I found some that are so NICE! I had a hard time believing they were plastic.

    But I think the overall thing is people can't get past that it's plastic. Although I don't think all realize acrylic is plastic. Some have such a nice feel to them. And some look extremely dressy! I just won't use the regular old plastic though to me they just don't add up but some of the acrylic is super nice! And I struggle with that because I've found some gorgeous beads but don't know.... =/ Plastic would be ok for kids stuff..

    I do love the Swarovski crystals, I buy them every chance I get now when they go on sale or something =) Or I see something I just have to have haha

    I didn't know the fact behind it though, it was nice to read this and see =)

    I like glass too but if I can then Swarovski just adds so much more color and sparkle =)

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  4. Yeah, if I ever have the creative inspiration I would start a kids line of jewelry. (my 6 year old would just love that) But it is hard to get over the fact that it's plastic. :) Kids are so rough on things it would be the perfect alternative for their jewelry. Thanks for commenting.


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